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UAW Gets Chrysler Board Seat

Perkins to represent union’s health care trust.

by on Jun.15, 2012

Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne welcomes two new board members - including one from the UAW.

CEO Sergio Marchionne has brought a representative of the United Auto Workers Union onto the Chrysler Group LLC board of directors.

The appointment of the UAW’s Eric Perkins comes at the request of a trust fund set up to cover the health care costs of retired unionized workers. The so-called VEBA currently holds a 41.5% stake in the smallest of the Detroit makers.

Perkins is the director of the UAW’s strategic research department, a non-elected position on the union’s professional staff, and his appointment to the nine-member Chrysler board was effective June 10, the maker said.

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The automaker has also appointed Ruth Simmons, the retiring president of Rhode Island’s prestigious Brown University, to the board replacing former Michigan governor James Blanchard who is stepping down at the end of his term.


Chrysler Profit Triggers First Profit-Sharing Checks Since 2005.

CEO Marchionne reveals Chrysler earnings offset Fiat deficit.

by on Feb.02, 2012

Chrysler workers will get $1,500 profit-sharing checks - and stand to earn another $1,750 if the maker can deliver four consecutive quarterly profits.

Chrysler workers have a variety of reasons to be pleased about the maker’s improving fortunes. They’re not only seeing thousands of jobs added but receiving their first profit-sharing checks since 2005 as a result of the maker landing in the black for the first time since 1997.

Meanwhile, Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of both Chrysler and Fiat, said the U.S. makers positive net offset a deficit at its Italian rival, which has been hammered by the European financial crisis – which has been particularly severe in Italy.

Marchionne wrote to U.S. hourly employees – who negotiated an improved profit-sharing formula as part of last-year’s new contract with the United Auto Workers Union, advising them they would get an average $1,500 each.

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“This is a reward that you have earned,” Marchionne proclaimed. “Your efforts rewrote the history that so many naysayers had forecast,” he added, a reference to the many outside skeptics who argued in favor of shutting down Chrysler rather than approving the maker’s 2009 federal bailout.


Chrysler Adding 1,100 Detroit Jobs to Build Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel

Maker confirms plans to launch Dodge Viper, add 150 more jobs at reopened Connor plant.

by on Jan.06, 2012

Chrysler will add 1,100 jobs as it prepares to launch a diesel version of its popular Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Chrysler will add another 1,250 jobs at a pair of assembly plants in the Motor City, as it prepares to launch production of a diesel-powered version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee along with an all-new Dodge Viper sports car.

The biggest increase, involving 1,100 workers, will come with the addition of a third shift at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant, on Detroit’s east side.  Meanwhile, Chrysler will re-open its old Connor Avenue Assembly Plant, adding another 150 jobs.  The facility was closed prior to the maker’s 2009 bankruptcy when it stopped production of the old Dodge Viper.

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“Our future, like the history of our brands, is interwoven with the City of Detroit,” said Chrysler Group Chairman and CEO Sergio Marchionne.  “We believe that investing in Detroit is not only the right thing to do, but it is a smart thing to do as we work to write the next chapter in our shared history.”


Marchionne Wants to Eliminate 2-Tier Wage Structure at Chrysler

“Economic disparity…cannot go on indefinitely.”

by on Oct.28, 2011

CEO Sergio Marchionne is signalling Chrysler must find a way to eliminate the 2-tier union wage structure.

Despite the significant cost savings it is bringing to the smallest of the domestic automakers, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne signaled that the maker’s two-tier wage structure is something he plans to eliminate in the not-too-distant future.

About one in eight of Chrysler’s 26,000 union workers in the U.S. currently fall into the second tier, earning about half as much as more senior members of the United Auto Workers Union – a figure expected to grow to at least one in four by the time the newly ratified 4-year UAW contract expires in 2015, said Marchionne during a conference call.

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The union failed to eliminate the two-tier structure during its recent contract talks with Chrysler, General Motors and Ford, though it did win so-called “new hires” a modest increase of about $3 an hour in wages and some additional benefits.  But in an unexpected turn, Marchionne suggested that having multiple grades is “structurally undesirable.”


Chrysler Commits to 2,100 More Jobs, $4.5 Bil Investment

But new UAW contract puts less cash in workers’ pockets.

by on Oct.12, 2011

Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne announcing the pay-off of the maker's federal bailout in May.

As part of its new contract with the United Auto Workers Union, Chrysler will invest $4.5 billion in new vehicles and technology, including two compact models based on Fiat products that will be built at the automaker’s assembly plants in Michigan and Illinois.

But the deal – which also guarantees at least 2,100 new jobs – comes with a price.  The union agreed to accept a smaller signing bonus than at General Motors or Ford Motor Co. to help the company achieve financial stability. And only half the $3,500 bonus will be paid immediately upon ratification while the balance will be paid after the company reaches financial stability.

The provision reduces the upfront cost of the contract which also includes a pay increase for second tier workers and limited changes in the health care plans. An additional $1,000 annual bonus also will be deferred until the company is in better financial health, the union said.

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The agreement was reached after a series of bruising meeting between UAW President Bob King and Chrysler/Fiat chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne, who had hoped to reduce the cost of the pact while preserving the company’s working relationship with the union. King had said he wasn’t looking for a confrontation with Chrysler but wanted his members to see the contract as fair.

“It’s a new day at Chrysler,” said King, officially confirming the settlement, which came almost a month after the original September 14th deadline.


Chrysler May Push UAW into Arbitration

Union makes push but talks may be deadlocked.

by on Oct.06, 2011

Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne may push contract talks with the UAW into arbitration.

With negotiations at Ford wrapped up, the United Auto Workers Union is turning its attention to what is potentially its most difficult target — Chrysler – but after faltering shortly before the original September 14 deadline there are growing concerns that the two sides may be deadlocked, forcing them to turn to binding arbitration as required by Chrysler’s 2009 federal bailout.

Hoping to push past the current impasse, UAW president Bob King has finally joined the negotiations, which are underway at Chrysler headquarters in the Detroit suburb of Auburn Hills, setting the stage for several days of intense bargaining.

Chrysler has been threatening the union with arbitration – which was set as a requirement since the bailout barred a strike over economic issues.

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The union, however, tried to defuse the threat by going to Ford for the second contract after setting a tentative pattern agreement at General Motors, last month.

Complicating matters, the company and union have yet to agree on an arbitrator. Arbitration ultimately could take several months to resolve, postponing a final settlement until sometime next year.


Breaking News; Ford and UAW Reach Settlement

Chrysler left to settle.

by on Oct.04, 2011

The settlement is expected to see Ford add production of the next-generation Fusion - its design based on this Evos Concept -- at a plant in suburban Detroit, saving thousands of jobs.

Ford and the United Auto Workers Union have reached a tentative settlement covering the automaker’s U.S. hourly workers. The two sides are expected to hail the development as a critical step in maintaining the competitiveness of the domestic auto industry – and bringing jobs back.

The agreement comes more than two weeks after the UAW was able to hammer out an agreement with General Motors and is expected to follow the pattern of the GM agreement.  That would mean substantial bonuses and a small raise for tier-two workers currently earning about half as much as veterans on the line.

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But Ford is also expected to benefit from the agreement, as did GM, through terms designed to improve productivity and offset any added costs.  That is expected to result in the addition of new union jobs, while also helping Ford keep open a plant in the Detroit suburbs many had expected might close.

Ford officials will outline their view of the agreement during a news conference this morning, UAW leaders following several hours later. will have coverage following those events.


Chrysler Fires 13 Workers For Drinking, Pot Smoking On Job.

Workers caught on camera by local TV station.

by on Sep.28, 2010

Chrysler is firing 13 workers caught on camera drinking and smoking pot while on the job.

Chrysler Group LLC has moved to get rid of 13 employees from the Jefferson North Assembly plant, in Detroit, caught drinking alcohol and smoking pot on their lunch hour by a local television crew.

Chrysler Group said Monday in a statement it had completed its investigation of the Jefferson North employees – who were initially suspended after the TV broadcast for violating the company’s code of conduct and jeopardizing the quality of vehicles built at the plant.

“It has been determined that 13 employees engaged in behavior that violated the Company’s Standards of Conduct and these 13 employees were discharged today. Two remaining employees will receive a one month disciplinary layoff without pay,” Chrysler announced.

The United Auto Workers concurred in the company’s decision to dismiss the union members.

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“As is evidenced by the swift action taken in this matter, it should be clear that Chrysler Group will not tolerate such behavior and will continue to evaluate its protocols to ensure that something like this does not happen again,” Chrysler said in a statement.